Notes for Chapter Eight
1 The most ancient book extant in the archaic tongue of Japan. It is the most sacred scripture of Shinto. It has been admirably translated, with copious notes and commentaries, by Professor Basil Hall Chamberlain, of Tokyo.
2 The genealogy of the family is published in a curious little book with which I was presented at Kitzuki. Senke Takanori is the eighty-first Pontiff Governor (formerly called Kokuzo) of Kitzuki. His lineage is traced back through sixty-five generations of Kokuzo and sixteen generations of earthly deities to Ama-terasu and her brother Susanoo-no- mikoto.
3 In Sanscrit pretas. The gaki are the famished ghosts of that Circle of Torment in hell whereof the penance is hunger; and the mouths of some are 'smaller than the points of needles.'
5 Now solidly united with the mainland. Many extraordinary changes, of rare interest to the physiographer and geologist, have actually taken place along the coast of Izumo and in the neighbourhood of the great lake. Even now, each year some change occurs. I have seen several very strange ones.
6 The Hakuja, or White Serpent, is also the servant of Benten, 01 Ben- zai-ten, Goddess of Love, of Beauty, of Eloquence, and of the Sea. 'The Hakuja has the face of an ancient man, with white eyebrows and wears upon its head a crown.' Both goddess and serpent can be identified with ancient Indian mythological beings, and Buddhism first introduced both into Japan. Among the people, especially perhaps in Izumo, certain divinities of Buddhism are often identified, or rather confused, with certain Kami, in popular worship and parlance.
Since this sketch was written, I have had opportunity of seeing a Ryu-ja within a few hours after its capture. It was between two and three feet long, and about one inch in diameter at its thickest girth The upper part of the body was a very dark brown, and the belly yellowish white; toward the tail there were some beautiful yellowish mottlings. The body was not cylindrical, but curiously four-sided - like those elaborately woven whip-lashes which have four edges. The tail was flat and triangular, like that of certain fish. A Japanese teacher, Mr. Watanabe, of the Normal School of Matsue, identified the little creature as a hydrophid of the species called Pela-mis bicalor. It is so seldom seen, however, that I think the foregoing superficial description of it may not be without interest to some readers.
7 Ippyo, one hyo 2 1/2 hyo make one koku = 5.13 bushels. The word hyo means also the bag made to contain one hyo.
8 Either at Kitzuki or at Sada it is possible sometimes to buy a serpent. On many a 'household-god-shelf' in Matsue the little serpent may be seen. I saw one that had become brittle and black with age, but was excellently preserved by some process of which I did not learn the nature. It had been admirably posed in a tiny wire cage, made to fit exactly into a small shrine of white wood, and must have been, when alive, about two feet four inches in length. A little lamp was lighted daily before it, and some Shinto formula recited by the poor family to whom it belonged.
9 Translated by Professor Chamberlain the 'Deity Master-of-the-Great- Land'-one of the most ancient divinities of Japan, but in popular worship confounded with Daikoku, God of Wealth. His son, Koto-shiro- nushi-no-Kami, is similarly confounded with Ebisu, or Yebisu, the patron of honest labour. The origin of the Shinto custom of clapping the hands in prayer is said by some Japanese writers to have been a sign given by Koto-shiro-nushi-no-Kami.
Both deities are represented by Japanese art in a variety of ways, Some of the twin images of them sold at Kitzuki are extremely pretty as well as curious.
10 Very large donations are made to this temple by wealthy men. The wooden tablets without the Haiden, on which are recorded the number of gifts and the names of the donors, mention several recent presents of 1000 yen, or dollars; and donations of 500 yen are not uncommon. The gift of a high civil official is rarely less than 50 yen.
11 Taku is the Japanese name for the paper mulberry.
12 See the curious legend in Professor Chamberlain's translation of the Kojiki.
13 From a remote period there have been two Kokuzo in theory, although but one incumbent. Two branches of the same family claim ancestral right to the office, - the rival houses of Senke and Kitajima. The government has decided always in favour of the former; but the head of the Kitajima family has usually been appointed Vice-Kokuzo. A Kitajima to-day holds the lesser office. The term Kokuzo is not, correctly speaking, a spiritual, but rather a temporal title. The Kokuzo has always been the emperor's deputy to Kitzuki, - the person appointed to worship the deity in the emperor's stead; but the real spiritual title of such a deputy is that still borne by the present Guji, - 'Mitsuye-Shiro.'
14 Haliotis tuberculata, or 'sea-ear.' The curious shell is pierced with a row of holes, which vary in number with the age and size of the animal it shields.
15 Literally, 'ten hiro,' or Japanese fathoms.
16 The fire-drill used at the Shinto temples of Ise is far more complicated in construction, and certainly represents a much more advanced stage of mechanical knowledge than the Kitzuki fire-drill indicates.
17 During a subsequent visit to Kitzuki I learned that the koto-ita is used only as a sort of primitive 'tuning' instrument: it gives the right tone for the true chant which I did not hear during my first visit. The true chant, an ancient Shinto hymn, is always preceded by the performance above described.
18 The tempest of the Kokuzo.